How to tell your friends and family you have cancer in 2020, an introduction. As a comedy writer and a lover of pushing feelings deep inside and masking them with sarcasm, a breast cancer diagnosis three weeks ago proved extremely overwhelming for me. Firstly, can I make jokes about it if it's MY cancer? What are the rules. Will people appreciate it's a serious health issue if you follow it with "but it's all good"? What is the appropriate amount of time to wait into having cancer before you tell people, and will people be angry you didn't tell them sooner?
So I guess this is me telling everyone - I have breast cancer. And they are going to remove the offending appendages from my body as one is filled with poison. I am announcing it as I may reference it from time to time and I really would hate to be the person on Facebook that's always saying "ooh so much stuff coming up I can't talk about" so there you go.
And I suppose while we are being honest, this isn't the way I thought this year would go. Judging by the many memes and relatable content I guess neither did a lot of us. It started strong enough - we fell pregnant and planned to move to the Gold Coast. I researched hospitals and booked scans, we looked at where we would live in proximity to the birthing ward and the logistics of having support around us while essentially living away from family.
When I realised we were losing the baby I went to emergency and they told me I was probably right and I should go home and let it happen. There was no way to fixit or solve it in a clinical way. I guess my brain is not really equipped for this so instead we pushed it deep into the back of our brains and packed out home and moved our life to another city in a pandemic that same weekend (coincidently, not as a result of, we're not total psychopaths). Crying came in the night when I knew I could rest after it and spend time considering what could have been.
Five months after we lost the baby I am here, in the Gold Coast, researching hospitals for breast clinics and booking MRIs. At least we lived in close proximity #silverlinings.
Oh shit that is dark. I'm so very sorry. That is a very dark overview of what otherwise has been a wonderful year. I guess I am still navigating how to make light of something that isn't light for a lot of Australians every year and my coping mechanism is to joke about something that I know isn't a joke for many families right now. So I assume now is the time to patent the title 'How to make appropriate jokes about your illness whilst not offending strangers and loved ones' so I can spend the next 6 months trial and error reporting. I am EXTREMELY blessed. Even enough that one might hashtag it. My husband, my boys and my job. My friends and family. It is not unseen to me that others are struggling in this time and I know I am only one of millions.
I am not sure what uplifting advice I can add to this because I am not really sure what the next step in the thing I'm doing looks like. I refuse to say journey yet, if ever. I'll have a boob job done in the GC which isn't something I anticipated at 37 but hey, I am going to have excellent breasts when I am 85, lemme tell you. When you enter this tunnel a lot of what you are facing is explained to you on a need to know basis, like watching Game of Thrones with people who have already seen it. Oh, a joke: How do you know if some one watches Game of Thrones? Don't worry, they'll tell you. See, who said this blog was gonna take a sharp turn into darksville?
So, I guess I will have a bunch of stuff to lecture you about in about a year's time or whatever the standard getting-thorugh-breast-cancer time period is now. I will likely have more enjoyable blog content, though, so now's an excellent time to subscribe? I would like all of your thoughts and prayers please but none of the pity, unless pity = giving me money to film my comedy series. But that's a bit gross. Is it? Idk. What are the rules? Also PLEASE don't send me scary stories. I am choosing to approach this with blissful denial and optimism because anxiety and also personality.
Thank you for your time, your support, and your collective hatred of Cancer that I also share. The illness, not the star sign, I am born in July.
*I must make it clear I hated Cancer before I got it, not just of recent weeks.
**I don't post as many photos of Archie now as he is 6 and likes his privacy. I had intended to write a seperate piece about this but maybe another time. It's not because babies are cuter, even though babies are very cute. He is very cute, also.